The short film, titled Love Should Not Hurt, has been created by domestic abuse charity Women’s Aid in collaboration with Fabio D’Andrea, a classical composer and director.
Inspired by real-life stories of survivors, Love Should Not Hurt aims to highlight all forms of abuse, including both physical violence and coercive control tactics such as spying, denying access to money and isolating victims from friends and family.
Approximately 1.6 million women in the UK experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2020, with those aged 16-24 years being the most at risk, according to the Office of National Statistics.
Love Should Not Hurt follows the story of an affluent couple who appear to have a happy, loving relationship while the woman is being subjected to abuse behind closed doors.
In her 2018 book, Brutally Honest, Mel B alleged she was beaten by her former husband, Stephen Belafonte. Belafonte has repeatedly denied the claims, with his lawyers previously telling the BBC the claims are “outrageous and unfounded”.
“I have spoken to so many other women, listened to what they have gone through and I know how very real the danger is to so many women out there,” Mel B said ahead of the video’s launch.
“I’m not going to stop breaking the silence and the shame around this subject because it’s too much and we have to stand up and do something,” she continued.
She said it was important that the video highlighted all forms of violence against women, adding that “you don’t have to be hit to be abused”.
“My heart breaks for every single woman and child who suffers from any form of domestic abuse, and while the film shows a range of abuse, I want to send a clear message that you don’t have to be hit to be abused. Coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse – it is about power and control,” she said.
In an interview with ITV on Thursday, Mel B said the coercive control tactic of isolating survivors can make it extremely difficult to leave abusive relationships.
“Some women don’t have access to their phones, even their finances – like in my situation.
“You are completely cut off from a regular normal world. And what becomes your normality is living in an abusive relationship with no way out,” she said.
Anyone who requires help or support can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline which is open 24/7 365 days per year on 0808 2000 247 or via their website https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/
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